I have a special place in my heart and stomach for macaroon tarts. When I was a kid, afternoon teatime was a beloved family tradition. There was always a big pot of hot sweetened lemon tea to go with some kind of sweet pastries. More often than not, the treats would be a box of tarts purchased at the neighbour Hong Kong-style bakery filled with custard tarts (蛋撻) and macaroon tarts (椰撻). As much as I love custard, I always started with a macaroon tart first because I could never get enough coconuts. Plus I was distracted by the bright red maraschino cherry decoration. Years later, my choice remains the same.
Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day contains a recipe for Blackberry & Coconut Macaroon Tart. A vegetarian cookbook promoting whole foods diet cannot be further away from the fusion Hong Kong cuisine of my childhood. Yet my taste memory involuntarily draws a connection between them. Must be that luscious coconut macaroon filling with crunchy crust and chewy centre. But this tart is so much more than just the filling. The crust is made with spelt and coconut flour which is so tender due to low gluten content. I added some ground cardamom to the macaroon filling to enhance the coconut taste. But the best part is the blackberries studding the top of the tart. These sweet tart berries taste almost jammy from baking and their fruity taste brings out such a pleasant contrast with the rich coconut. A bit of chopped pistachio top everything off in their lovely shade of green.
I stayed very close to the original recipe except for the addition of cardamom and using equal weight coconut flour in the crust instead of desiccated coconut. I much prefer the fine texture provided by coconut flour. The recipe itself is probably one of the easiest tart recipes I encountered with a press-in crust and no-fuss filling. Where it became time consuming is preparing the individual moulds. Swanson’s recipe was written for 8x11 tart pan which is not a common bakeware in many homecook’s kitchen. Luckily the yield perfectly fills 8 individual 4-inch tart pans with removable bottom. I lined each pan with a circle of parchment paper and meticulously buttered the fluted sides. The tarts took a long time to bake but that’s just one of the quirks of my oven. I’m very pleased with the result because they look absolutely gorgeous in single-serving size.
I served the Blackberry & Coconut Tarts plain with just a cup of tea. For a composed dessert, adding scoops of vanilla ice-cream or blackberry sorbet would be simple and effective. If you’re in the mood for something more exotic, a granita made with cardamom-scented coconut milk is another option. A bit of pistachio brittle on the side would be tasty too.
Smitten kitchen published an adaptation of Swanson’s recipe that is scaled down from the original. Feel free to check it out if you’re interest in the recipe. I will definitely think of this Blackberry & Coconut Tart when blackberries are in season. Perhaps I’ll even experiment with using coconut oil in the crust instead of butter.